As mobile applications proliferate, do financial advisors really use them?

“Definitely,” said Nate Call, vice president of product management at SunGard’s wealth and retirement administration business. “Not every meeting requires a mobile device but there are many times when an advisor will sit down with a client, outside of the office, and there will be information that needs to be presented to the client. Having that information on a mobile device such as an iPad changes the whole dynamic. Instead of being face to face with a client, the advisor can be side by side with that client, even shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing information as it appears.”

Wayne, Pennsylvania-based SunGard has recently introduced Mobile Meeting for Financial Planning, an application for mobile tablet devices such as the iPad. At the same, the company has launched MyRetirement, an analytic tool for those mobile devices as well as for traditional desktop computing. “With MyRetirement,” Call said, “advisors can personalize the ‘4% rule’ for retirement planning to suit individual clients.”

Mobile Meeting for Financial Planning integrates with SunGard’s WealthStation Financial Planning to provide the following capabilities:

  • Access to client relationship data such as demographics and beneficiaries;
  • Client net worth, financial plans, asset allocation, goal tracking, key results, and planning calculators ;
  • Records of every client meeting; and
  • Secure document access.

Another component of WealthStation Financial Planning, MyRetirement is designed to help advisors answer clients who ask, How much can I safely spend during retirement? “The 4% withdrawal rate might be the standard,” Call said, “but it’s not the right answer for every client.” That is, conventional wisdom holds that a client who retires around age 65 will probably not run out of money by withdrawing 4% of his or her portfolio value in Year One and increasing the withdrawal amount each year to keep up with inflation.
“With MyRetirement,” Call said, “advisors can go over different withdrawal rates and different probabilities of success to illustrate the tradeoffs. Advisors can have a meaningful conversation with clients and get a better idea of what works for them.”

Call added that MyRetirement turns such planning “upside down,” as he put it. “Traditionally,” he said, “advisors ask clients how much they want to spend in retirement. Then advisors calculate how much a client will need to have in order to spend that much, with a certain withdrawal rate.”

Many clients, though, don’t know how much they’d like to spend in retirement, according to Call. “With MyRetirement,” he said, “advisors can ask clients how much they have invested now, and how much they expect to have when they retire. From there, advisors can show clients how much they’ll be able to spend, with different probabilities their money will last over a long retirement.” Clients who want to be able to spend more can easily see the value of increased saving during their working years.